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Denver Volunteer Opportunities: Holiday Edition

Denver volunteer opportunities

These days, wellness can be selfish but it doesn’t have to be. What better time to spread some wellness and practice some gratitude than the holidays? Forget your journal, protein smoothie, and meditation. It’s time to give back. Denver volunteer opportunities this holiday season range from supporting community events to toy drives and food banks. I narrowed my research to winter/holiday-specific Denver volunteer opportunities. However, if you don’t see something that resonates, you don’t celebrate any holidays, or you don’t live in Denver…I hope this at least inspires you to give back in some capacity this season. Remember, if you can somehow afford that influencer’s latest & ridiculously overpriced beauty product, then you can afford to donate a gift to a child this season. Do the right thing and keep reading for Denver volunteer opportunities this holiday season! 

Holiday Events:

Mile High United Way Holiday Party

Mile High United Way hosts an annual holiday party for families in need. This year, they plan to host 400 families and provide activities such as crafts, games, and pictures with Santa. There are multiple ways to get involved in this event including donating to the toy drive, making a monetary donation, or volunteering your time. As a volunteer, duties may include set-up of the event, organizing toys, and checking families into the event. Donations and volunteer opportunities are open now through December 12th, click the link to register and learn more!

Parade of Lights

Parade of Lights is a Christmas parade that is celebrating its 48th year this season. The Parade of Lights is set for December 3rd at 6 pm and starts outside of the Denver city and county building. There are several tasks for volunteers including; banner elves, grandstand ambassadors, captains, drivers, spotters, marshals, and balloon handlers. Here’s the link to register, happy parading!

Blossoms of Light at Denver Botanic Gardens

 Every year, Denver Botanic Gardens transforms its York street location into a spectacular holiday lights display. Blossoms of Light starts on November 18th and goes through January 8th from 4:30-9 p.m. (a note: it is closed Nov. 24 & Dec. 25 due to the holidays). Register here → 18+ volunteer applications, 16+ volunteer applications 

Polar Express Train Ride

Every holiday season, the Colorado Railroad Museum hosts a Polar Express train ride. This is an immersive experience in which the Polar Express steam train is simulated. The event needs volunteers to help set up the experience to look like the North Pole. After set up, the ongoing event needs ushers, greeters, hot chocolate attendants, and Santa line managers. You can sign up to work at the event here.  

Toy Drives:

Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive

The Together 4 Colorado Toy Drive serves the children and teens of The Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver. You can drop toys off from November 25th-December 23rd at the storefronts of more than 100 King Sooper locations across the metro area. Please do not wrap gifts. Also, teen gifts are encouraged this year. This includes items like art supplies, sports equipment, gift cards, or electronics. 

Mile High United Way

These toys are meant for the Holiday party mentioned above and the deadline to drop off toys is December 5th. Here is a flyer that lists suggested items to donate. Toys can be dropped off at Mile High United Way (711 Park Avenue West). 

Volunteers of America Santa Shop for Teens

Probably the easiest option on the list…Volunteers of America has set up an Amazon wish list for the teens of the families they serve. Order from this wishlist and the gift goes straight to Volunteers of America. If you don’t want to use the Amazon wish list, you can also drop toys off at VOA Admin Building, 2660 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80250. 

Hope House Colorado Christmas Shop

Hope House Colorado is an organization that supports teen mothers. You can help stock their Christmas shop for the children of teen mothers by pledging to donate and deliver unwrapped gifts. All instructions to pledge are here

Holiday Meals:

Food Bank of the Rockies

As we all know, food is a large part of the holiday season. To ensure that you don’t take the holiday feasts for granted this year, give to the food bank. You might consider hosting a virtual food drive with friends, family, and/or coworkers. However, you can also get involved by signing up as a Volunteer. Even better, sign up as a group with friends, family, or coworkers to work at the Food Bank’s main distribution center for a shift. 

Joy’s Kitchen

Joy’s Kitchen is twofold in their efforts. Their mission is to reduce food waste while providing meals to the hungry in their community. You can help Joy’s Kitchen this holiday season by making a monetary donation to support the groceries of a needy family or volunteering at the kitchen. Volunteer tasks include gathering, sorting, and distributing food. 

Holiday Meals on Wheels

During the holiday season, the Volunteers of America Meals on Wheels program needs additional drivers to deliver food. Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to homebound seniors. There are opportunities available Monday-Saturday and you can email mowvolunteers@voacolorado.org to sign up! 

Adopt-A-Family Programs:

Other Denver Volunteer Opportunities:

Holiday Stockings for Heroes

This year Soldier’s Angels has a goal of stuffing 40,000 stockings this year to send over to deployed troops and veterans in VA hospitals. Use the link above to find their list of suggested items, then ship the items to Soldier’s Angels. Be sure to postmark your stockings by December 9th! 

Giving Machines

Head to Writer’s Square (15th and Larimer) to donate to a giving machine from Thanksgiving week to New Year’s day. Giving machines are literally vending machines for local charities. Yes, all you have to do is insert your credit card into a vending machine, choose what you would like to donate and Voila…This season, the giving machines in Writer’s Square will support 5 local Denver charities including:

Dress for Success Denver

All you work from homers…I know that you don’t wear your business casual attire anymore. DONATE IT! Dress for Success Denver is an organization that supports women to become financially independent by providing resources like professional clothing, networking events, and career coaching. Get involved at Dress for Success Denver by donating your clothing, making a monetary donation, or becoming a recurring volunteer. Also, you can support their upcoming event Shop for Success on December 2nd from 5 pm-8 pm and December 3rd from 10 am-2 pm. At this event, you can shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories from $1-$20. All proceeds go to helping Dress for Success Denver move to a new location. 

Clothes to Kids Denver

Clothes to Kids Denver is an organization that provides free clothing to students and families in crisis. Donate your gently used winter clothing this holiday season to help keep kiddos in need warm. You can also sign up to be a recurring volunteer and work in the storefront helping customers. Visit their website for all of the ways that you can support this awesome organization!

The Volunteers of America Winter Homeless Needs 

Shop the Volunteers of America Amazon wishlist for homeless needs this winter. Items bought using this link will be sent directly to the Volunteers of America and distributed at several of their locations that support the homeless in Denver. 

Hopefully, you found a Denver volunteer opportunity on this list that you can participate in this holiday season. As a tip, I love to get groups of friends and family together so that we can all give back together. Volunteering and donating can help us practice gratitude and grounding ourselves amidst the madness of the holidays. What’s your favorite way to give back to your community during the holidays? Now, just go with it and give back 🙂

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